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Dracula: Resurrection

Score: 75%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developer: Wanadoo
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: RPG/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Dracula: Resurrection are quite nice. Each location is represented by a 360-degree view which you can rotate by moving the mouse around. If the cursor moves over something important, it changes -- into an arrow if you can move in that direction, a magnifying glass if you can look closer, a set of gears if you can manipulate it, or a hand if you can pick it up. Most transitions between rooms are instantaneous, but a few of them have nice FMV. The rooms themselves are pre-rendered 3D mapped onto a 2D sphere which occasionally looks rather odd, but in general, captures the ambiance of the game wonderfully. The world itself is luscious, with moonlight trickling through tree-branches and flames dancing in corners of ancient mineshafts. Everything reeks of quality design.

The FMVs themselves are captivating, even if the people look like theyíre made out of clay. Jonathanís eyes are constantly bugging out of his head as he learns what he has to do on his quest to save his wife, and later in the game there is an, er, interesting-looking trio of characters that those who have seen the movie or read the book will recognize immediately. Every FMVís timing and setting makes sense, and youíll be looking forward to each one as the game progresses.

The music is absolutely amazing, with the proper gothic-choral feel that a game like this absolutely requires. Those of you that remember The 7th Guest will be reminded of the introductory theme. Excellent, excellent stuff. The voice acting lies somewhere between Brave Fencer Musashi and Deus Ex -- a little hokey, but in general, more than adequate. Youíll never be slapping your forehead like you did in Resident Evil.


Gameplay:

Dracula: Resurrection is a joy to play. I sat, completely engrossed in the game, as I took control of Jonathan on the search for his wife, Mina. Imagine my surprise when, an hour and a half into the game, I was asked to switch CDs. Imagine the horror when the game ended another hour and a half later. Folks, this game is wonderful, but itís way, way too short. At the going price tag of 30 bucks, youíre going to feel cheated out of your money. But enough of that. Letís talk about the game itself.

You take the role of Jonathan Harker, seven years after the book ended. Your wife, Mina, leaves you a note saying that sheís leaving you for the sugar daddy to end all sugar daddies -- Dracula himself. So off you go, back to Transylvania, in an attempt to stop Dracula once and for all, or at least rescue the wife.

There are some very, very nice things about the game. For one, itís almost impossible to screw up the game. In fact, it may be -- I didnít try, but everything that you might need for a later puzzle is pretty obviously shown to you, and I never had an instance where I couldnít get back to where a necessary item was. This keeps the frustration level down, as anyone who played the first few Kingís Quests can tell you just how much of a pain it is to play 15 hours into a game and realize that you forgot to pick up something on the first screen and are therefore stuck. Ugh. So kudos to the developers for making a game that keeps you going and never having to worry about missing a vital item or anything silly like that.

The plot itself is also interesting -- yes, youíre trying to save your wife, but as the game progresses, you learn more and more about whatís happened with and around our favorite blood-sucking Count. The oodles of background information just makes for a more enjoyable play, and is something that didnít need to be there -- but itís wonderful that it is.

Puzzles never involve much more than picking the right item and clicking on the right location. I had a few problems finding some places to click -- they tend to be quite small, and especially in the underground areas, almost black -- but this was quickly remedied. Since the game makes sure that you only have a dozen or so significant locations accessible at any given time, a thorough check always turns up what you need to do. And rarely does it not make sense. Sure, itís that crazy adventure game sense, but itís never Resident Evil-style, where you just dumbly go through every item in your inventory trying to see what works on the gadget in front of you.

With the cool ambiance, the enjoyable play, and the good story, why do I give the game such a low score? I said it once, and Iíll say it again -- itís too damned short. I beat this game in one sitting.


Difficulty:

If you pay attention, you should be able to beat the game on the first sitting. The Zodiac puzzle has been known to give people fits, but if you look closely at whatís presented to you, youíll figure it out soon enough. And always look closely at the ground. There may be something useful there thatís almost indiscernible.

Game Mechanics:

The control scheme couldnít be easier for Dracula, and the menu system (for what it is) is easy as pie. Right-click to bring up your inventory; click on the item and whenever you move the cursor over an ďinteractĒ location, itíll light green if the current item is the right one. If itís not, right click and pick another. Saving the game is pretty neat, as it brings you to a room with eight boards. Click on a board, and a snapshot of your location along with the time that you saved is stored.

I really liked Dracula: Resurrection, which is why itís so hard for me to give it this score. If it had been a few hours longer, it would have gotten at least another 15 points. As it is, only people who inherit this game will find it worth the money. Another possibility is to split it with a friend -- the ride is definitely worth 15 bucks. But at its full price, Dracula: Resurrection leaves a lot in length to be desired. The ride is glorious, but itís also a bit too short.


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 95/98 or MAC OS 8.0, Pentium 166 MHz or PowerPC 120 MHz Pentium 200 MHz or PowerPC), 16-bit Graphics Card (3D Graphics Accelerator), 4X or Faster (8X or Faster), 32 MB (64 MB)
 

Test System:



Pentium II 350, 128 MB RAM, Viper 770 Ultra (32 MB Riva TNT2 Ultra video card), Windows 98 Second Edition, 32X CD-ROM drive

Windows Pacific Fighters Windows Dungeon Keeper II

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated